Twenty years ago, I was coming of age as “second-wave feminism” was hitting its stride. A national Equal Rights Amendment seemed like a do-able accomplishment and helped galvanize activists. The UN had recently declared International Women’s Year, and women were empowered by participating in a movement whose numbers seemed to swell every year.
Feminism was revived. The “first-wave” feminists had achieved passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, granting women the right to vote. But the voting public was still largely middle- and upper-class, and didn’t produce the revolutionary change that socialist suffragists had sought. And since so much effort had been focused on suffrage, once it was obtained, activism dwindled until it was all but non-existent.